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Let Loose the Libertines of War. Or, Not.

We are told that one of the reasons the terrorists hate us is because they think we are, as a culture, irredeemably corrupt. Of course, what the fanatics regard as corrupt, we call a bias toward individual freedoms. They want the power to define society, and people pursuing their own lives, liberties, and particular happinesses is anathema to those who want that kind of power over us. Any totalitarian movement will regard personal freedoms as a sign of cultural corruption.

I watched the news last night, oh boy. The big story was Black Friday -- the purported (but not in fact) biggest shopping day of the year -- the day on which many merchants are finally able to yank their books over the line into the black. The stock market is up 5 or 6 percent over the last month. Yes, lay-offs are coming in the auto industry. Consumer confidence is a bit shaky. A goodly proportion of the population feels the country is heading in the wrong direction.

Nevertheless, life is good. I don't know about you, but I stuffed myself silly on Thursday.

So let me ask you: Do you feel like your country is at war? I certainly don't. It feels to me like most of the rest of the country doesn't either.

We watch the war debate on T.V., we follow the blogs, if you aren't sleeping in late on Sunday mornings, you can catch up on the current state of the argument. But really, it's all shockingly abstract if you stop and think about it for a moment. Shouldn't we here on the homefront be a little discommoded?

What happens when a country gets so big and powerful that it can electively invade and occupy another country, and meanwhile the homefront... well, what homefront?

There are nearly 160,000 American soldiers in Iraq at the moment, and surely the families of those men and women know all too well what it feels like to be on a homefront. But the rest of us? Well. There's that big "day after Thanksgiving" sale at Macy's...

You know what? Maybe we are pretty corrupt. What else can you call a democracy wherein the vast majority of the people don't have the slightest visceral sense that their country is at war? What's the use of having in the hands of the people (through their representatives) the supreme power to declare war if there is no discernible difference between being at war and not being at war? It's like having the power to choose between a Ford and a Mazda, or a Maytag and a Kenmore. Worse, it's like those reprobates who will have sex with anyone, or perhaps anything, simply because it no longer matters to them with whom, or what, they have sex. Anything is better than boredom, after all.

We have become libertines of war. We are free to have war with whomever we want simply because it apparently doesn't make much difference to us anymore if we do.

Come to think of it, as a culture, that makes us pretty god damned corrupt.


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With a bribed Congress and voting irregularities that would embarrass a thrid-world hellhole you wonder why anyone would see us as corrupt? Puh-leeze.

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